The Daily Herald writes that a new television series on National Geographic Channel (NGC) called “Marine Life” tells in five thematic episodes the story of underwater life in the Dutch Caribbean. André Kuipers, former Dutch astronaut and ambassador of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), takes viewers down to this beautiful world. In the first episode, Kuipers boards a small submarine to observe
coral at great depths. “Coral reefs are the nurseries of the sea,” explains Kuipers. “From space, I could see them as beautiful turquoise rings around the islands. To see this coral from a submarine is amazing. It’s like being on another planet, which is full of life.”
Saba gets a special treat in the first three episodes of the series. In these episodes, “Marine Life” will visit the Saba Bank reservation, which, amongst other things, protects whales, dolphins and sharks. In this area, which is part of the migration route between the Arctic Ocean and the Caribbean, the animals won’t be disturbed by sonar or engine noises.
Bonaire and St. Eustatius also get their own episode each. Bonaire’s abundant underwater life gets some special attention and in Statia, the crew take a peek at the new Dutch Science Institute. This institute will become the Caribbean base of operations for scientists from all over the world.
In the first episode of the television show, which airs November 21, biologist Erik Meesters will take the audience to a much greater depth than normally possible when diving. Instead of the usual maximum depth of 60-70 metres, he will take a submarine down hundreds of metres, which produces fascinating images. This already led to breaking news as a special type of sponge was recently discovered by researcher Lisa Becking, a colleague of Meesters.
From November 21 to November 23, the “Nationale Potscode Loterij” (Dutch National Postcode lottery) and WWF organise “Oceanweekend.” This is a four-part series called Kingdom of the Oceans, which can be seen on NGC and is part of an effort to create awareness of the many problems involving the oceans. In the second episode of Marine Life on November 28, the researchers show the wonderful world of whales. They discuss the problems that sonar presents to whales’ orientation.The producers promise some spectacular images of a meeting with a mother whale and her calf.
The third and final visit to the Saba Bank will show the biodiversity of that area. There will also be a land expedition to the top of Mount Scenery. This episode will air on NGC on December 5. Statia will be next on December 12, where, among other things, the team explores a shark protection programme and takes a look at some archaeological sites on the island. Last, but not least, Bonaire will reveal all its beauty on December 19. A topic of note will be the delicate balance between preservation of underwater nature and tourism.